Filipino youth protest in Senate to oppose Mandatory ROTC

This article is available in Pilipino

Filipino youth protested before the Senate in Pasay City on May 22 to express their opposition to the passage of the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) bill in the upper house. In April, several senators pushing the repressive program announced their plan to railroad the proposal before the end of the Senate session.

The return to mandatory or obligatory ROTC is also among the programs supported by the Marcos regime since coming to power in 2022. Marcos announced on his first State of the Nation Address his support for the bill and his desire to bring back compulsory military training in senior high school.

Various youth groups oppose the bill mainly for the following reasons: 1) additional costs and waste of public funds; 2) additional burden for students, teachers and parents; 3) culture of violence and corruption; 4) promotion of fake nationalism; 5) threat to academic freedom 6) Violation of local and international laws and conventions related to children’s rights.

Amid renewed threat to railroad the proposal, the possibility of using the mandatory ROTC is becoming evident in the face of the intensifying possibility of a war between the imperialist US and its rival China.

“With the passing of mandatory ROTC, the youth will be forced into war and used as ammunition against a foreign aggressor in the future —a war that the youth do not want but is being dragged into by the Marcos regime due to its servility to the US,” Anakbayan said.

In December 2022, the House of Representatives passed its counterpart proposal, the National Citizens Service Training (NCST) program.

The youth had compulsory ROTC repealed in January 2002 following protests that erupted in March 2001 after the death of Mark Welson Chua, a 19-year-old student of the University of Sto. Tomas at the hands of a fellow ROTC officer of the university.

Chua then revealed the anomalies, corruption and abuses within the UST ROTC resulting to being targetted for hatred and retaliation by officers who were discharged and removed from position.

AB: Filipino youth protest in Senate to oppose Mandatory ROTC